Diary - tales of courage

D-Day commemorations moved across the Channel as celebrations to mark the biggest seaborne invasion ever continued. There were many moving scenes and stories told, leaving many in tears. It's impossible not to get a lump in your chest on historic days like today. The humility of those who survived is truly humbling. So many died to set us free from Nazi tyranny and we must never forget their sacrifice. I went to Swanage to attend a small but very poignant ceremony at the Cenotaph there. Attending were two D-Day veterans, Clifford Brown and Peter Lovett. Clifford served on a minesweeper, which, along with others, cleared the path to the beaches of mines. Tragically, Clifford's ship was blown up by a mine some months later off the coast of Boulogne. He was one of only five survivors. Peter landed on Juno Beach with the Canadians before his Battalion was broken up and he was sent to join the 9th Parachute Battalion. He took part in one of the biggest airdrops as the Allies secured a crossing over the Rhine and went on to survive the war. His recollection of events were as clear as day and I listened spellbound to his tales of what it was like to fight the Germans as they retreated eastwards. About 100 people gathered for the parade and the sun shone on the sea, which, 75  years ago, was covered in ships. What extraordinary men, doing their duty and fighting for our freedom.